Most people today don’t think of the 1940’s as spinning out multi-media franchises. But indeed that is what actress Marie Wilson had succeed in doing. She has no less than three Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One for Motion Pictures at 6601 Hollywood Boulevard; one for Radio at 6301 Hollywood Boulevard; and one for Television at 6765 Hollywood Boulevard.
It could be said that all this fame was primarily accomplished through the single role she portrayed across all three media, that of Irma Peterson. The stereotypical dumb-blonde humor may have attracted audiences, but Marie’s pin-up quality physical attributes and real life moxy may have helped sustain the character’s popularity.
Marie and her Irma character were popular from mid-to late 1940’s into mid-1950’s. In fact, two major Hollywood movies in 1949 and 1950 served as the first big screen appearances and acting launch-pads for Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Irma also ran for three seasons during the early period of television (1952-1954). The vast majority of the TV episodes have been lost as they were originally broadcast live and apparently not recorded.
If they issued Stars on the Walk of Fame for comic books, Marie would have had a fourth. Under the pre-Marvel brand Atlas, a total of 46 issues of My Friend Irma were published between June 1950 and February 1955. The comics clearly cross-promoted the radio version with “The famous C.B.S. RADIO Laff-Riot” right on the cover. All the comics were by the dynamic duo, dream team match up of Stan Lee (writer) and Dan DeCarlo (artist).
After years of searching for a copy of #16 (February 1952) I’ve found just two copies (I love it for its statistics reference). Shown are other issues I’ve owned starting with #1*, #5*, #14*, #36* (a double cover) and #40* (football themed). My Friend Irma issues appear to be rare and in demand as they are snapped up quickly and continue to fetch higher and higher amounts.
* Sold copy